BinDiesel is a bad-ass DSL wrapped around the OptionParser ruby standard library.
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Bin Diesel

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Bin Diesel is a utility that will allow you to create re-usable, executable scripts easier.

Bin Diesel abstracts option parsing to simplify your 'bin' scripting. It provides a number of wrapper methods for OptionParser, so I'd suggest having a look at that documentation to understand more of what this provides. OptionParser Complete Example

What's provided? AKA, the API

It is important to note that methods are executed in the order defined. This means you should set all options and text helpers before defining run.

Default options

Using Bin Diesel, you get the following options for free:

  • -d, --dry-run, Run script without any real changes. Sets @dry_run and options.dry_run to true. Sets --verbose by default.`

The intent of --dry-run is to provide you with a way to run through the script and note output to verify that the script runs as intended. We generally use this flag on ActiveRecord calls. For example:

  # ...
  run do
    users = User.where(organization: Organization.where(name: 'DataXu'))
    message "Updating #{users.count} DataXu users to be admins"
    users.update_all(admin: true) unless options.dry_run
  # ...

The first time through, users can run the script with --dry-run and note the number of users that would be modified. A second run of the script without the --dry-run option will make the modifications.

  • -v, --[no-]verbose, Run verbosely

  • -h, --help, Show description and options, and exit

Attributes for your ready use

  • verbose - false by default

    The built in message helpers won't print if verbose if false, saving you the hassle.

puts 'Something' if verbose
message "Event" # I only print if verbose is true!
  • options

This is a struct that allows you to access options you configure. Options are generally defined in opts_on blocks. For example:

class SimpleScript
  include BinDiesel

  # Accepts three arguments and a block.  The signature is:
  # opts_on [short flag], [long flag], [help text for the option]
  opts_on '-f', '--file [FILE]', 'The file to operate on' do |file_name|
    options.file_name = file_name

The first two arguments define the short and long switches for the option. The remaining N arguments are used as a description of the option (separated by newlines) displayed when the '--help' switch is provided.

See the OptionParser documentation for #make_switch for a description of the arguments opts_on accepts. If the defined option accepts a value, the value will be passed to the block.

  • dry_run - false by default. This is also available through options.dry_run.
do_irrevocable_change unless dry_run
  • args

The args passed in to the run method. You may have a required thing that isn't a --option you need to use. This is generally an array that looks something like this (depending on the options supplied at the command line):

['--file', 'file_name.txt', '--verbose', '--dry-run']

Methods for your use

  • opts_banner(text)

Set banner text for your script. Usually the bare usage line to show an example run.

  • opts_description(text)

Longer form text explaining what your script does.

  • opts_on *opts, &block

Meat and potatoes. This is what you'll use to set your own options. The examples provided or OptionParser Complete example will give you more of an idea of what is possible. Also see the OptionParser documentation for #make_switch.

Note the usage of options in the block to set values you'll use in your executing code. Instance variables (instead of using options) are also acceptable.

opts.on("-d", "--dry-run", "Run script without any real changes.", "\tSets --verbose by default.") do |dry_run|
  options.dry_run = true
  options.verbose = true
  • opts_required *args

When parsing is done, OptionParser::MissingArguement will be raised for anything specified here that options does not respond to.

opts_required :path
# if you never set options.path, things go BOOM.
  • opts_accessor *args

Turns the provided args into accessors to help in your script writing.

opts_accessor :path
# allows path
# instead of options.path
# or @path
  • dry_run?

Some sugar for checking if dry_run was set.

save_records unless dry_run?
  • post_initialize

Provided so you don't have to overide Bin Diesel's initialize method. It executes after all the parsing and what not, so you'll have access to options and the accessors.

class SimpleExample
  include BinDiesel

  post_initialize do
    # Set some other useful instance variables
    @base_directory = File.dirname(__FILE__)
  • run &block

This is the big deal of your script. You should use this as the method that'll be called to kick off your script. We do nice things for you, like catch exceptions and exit and return 1 or return 0 if all goes well.

If run is not implemented, the script will raise `NotImplementedError.

run do
  campaigns = find_campaigns(options.campaign_uids)
  campaigns.each do |campaign|
    campaign.update_attribute(:name, "#{} Update Example") unless options.dry_run
  • message(text)

puts text if verbose is set to false. This is an extremely simple wrapper around puts:

def message(text)
  puts text if verbose
  • info_message(text)

Like message, but prepends with **

  • error_message(text)

puts text, no matter the setting of verbose. It also prepends text with "!! "

The bin_script DSL

You can also use the bin_script DSL to define the class surrounding your bin script:

require 'bin_diesel'

bin_script(ARGV) do
  post_initialize do
    # Do things with options before `run` is called

  run do
    # Do something special

In this case, there is no need to initialize a class -- i.e. isn't necessary. The script can be run with:

ruby bin_script.rb [options]


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'bin_diesel'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install bin_diesel


This is the most basic way to use Bin Diesel:

#! /usr/bin/env ruby

class MyScript
  include BinDiesel # ahh yeah, goodies

  post_initialize do
    # Do some stuff with options before `run` is called

  run do
    # I am required and will throw and exception if not defined.
    # This is what you should call, and should contain the main logic of your script.
    # If there is no exception, it'll return 0, otherwise 1 for use as an exit code

if __FILE__ == $0  # don't run it if not called alone
  exit  # the 0 or 1 allows you to get a proper exit code

See the Examples directory for more examples.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request